What is the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction, if there is one, of the Latin suffixes -tivus (many examples) and -vus/-uus/-ivus (arvus, residuus, cadivus)? I read in a non-reliable source once that it came from Proto-Indo-European *-wos, but no actual source I have researched so far confirms so, so I am guessing that that -vus<-wos claim is either an unconfirmed possibility or wrong.

Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics by Oswald Szemerényi mentions no Latin in its section for *-wos (pg 319), only Greek and Indic and Gothic.

On the Syntax of the Participles of Indo-European Deponents by Laura Grestenberger, -uos/-us lists only Greek, Illyrian, and Tocharian as having inherited this suffix.

And Proto-Indo-European by Mate Kapović only gives us this:

I couldn't copypaste so have the screenshot instead

So, where do these Latin suffixes come from, if it is known?

1 Answer 1


There are two distinct suffixes here that are easily confused if different authors use different forms as the citation form.

The one Kapović mentions is an s-stem participle. He cites it by its nominative stem *-wos-, but other authors may cite it by its masculine/feminine nominative singular *-wōs (possibly together with the genitive singular *-usos) instead.

The second is a thematic adjective derived with the same *-w- suffix as the participle. This has the (masculine/neuter) nominative stem *-wó-, but if cited by its masculine nominative singular *-wós (and masculine/neuter genitive singular *-wósyo).

Szemerényi appears to be talking about the *-wos-/-us- participle, rather than the *-wó- adjective, and doesn't seem to be intending to give a complete list of related forms.

Unfortunately I cannot find a good source for the origin of the Latin -v- perfects (which appear to be the source of the adjectives in -vus). All I can say is that the Latin -vus would be the expected reflex of PIE *-wós, and the semantics seem appropriate.

  • Here is the link for O.S. and the section where he is talking *-wos: books.google.cz/…
    – user36730
    Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 17:49
  • Thanks, the link to the Czech page didn't work for me, but changing it to books.google.co.uk/… did. It looks like he's referring to the *-wos-/-us- participle, rather than the *-wó- adjective
    – Tristan
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 9:22

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